Nissan has confirmed its widely anticipated return to outright contention for the Le Mans 24 Hour race with is motorsport arm NISMO leading the 2015 project.
The Japanese manufacturer announced its plans to take on Audi, Porsche and Toyota in sportscar racing’s LMP1 category in London today.
The project will be Nissan’s first fully backed outright tilt at Le Mans since 1999.
Nissan’s return means that manufacturer participation in prototype racing is returning to levels which saw become a huge attraction for car makers in the 1990′s.
The manufacturer has been working on LMP1 concepts for some time, which was a condition of its Garage 56 (experimental car) electric ZEOD RC racer that will take part in this year’s Le Mans following on from Nissan’s Deltawing experiment in 2012.
In conjunction with NISMO, Nissan will construct an all new LMP1 machine to compete in the 2015 World Endurance Championship and the twice round the clock French classic.
The car will be known as the Nissan GT-R LM NISMO and will be built incorporating expertise from facilities around the world.
The LMP1 project will be an addition to its wide ranging motorsport programs which includes the LMP2 engine program, GT3, V8 Supercars and Super GT.
“You don’t go to Le Mans to just turn up. LMP1 is not just an arms race – all our rivals in the class have taken different technical approaches and we will be doing the same,” said Andy Palmer Nissan’s Chief Planning Office & Executive Vice-President.
“We want to win in a very different way to that of our rivals.
“We won’t be turning up in a vehicle which is a basically another hybrid that looks like another Porsche, Audi or Toyota – they all look the same to me – our intention is to do something that is a little bit different.”
Following its plucky, well-received debut at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, news about the revolutionary DeltaWing dried up so quickly that some in the industry suspected its debut might also be its finale. But according to unofficial sources, negotiations are underway for the DeltaWing to do just what managing partner and American Le Mans Series founder Donald Panoz at Le Mans said the odd-looking racer might do: Compete, likely in a class of its own, at the ALMS season-ending Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta in October. A track which, incidentally, Panoz has owned since 1996. Panoz was not available immediately for an interview, but rumors persist that negotiations continue between the DeltaWing partners, engine supplier Nissan and DeltaWing designer Ben Bowlby to bring the DeltaWing back to the U.S. At the moment, it remains in Europe and has been repaired of the damage caused when it was hit by a wayward Toyota in the race. If the car races at Petit, it will possibly use the same driver lineup from Le Mans, led by development pilot Marino Franchitti. The decision needs to be made quickly. The 1,000-mile race is scheduled for Oct. 17-20, which is—as shown by a rolling countdown clock posted at http://www.roadatlanta.com —less than 57 days away. The light, nimble, four-cylinder DeltaWing should work exceptionally well at Road Atlanta, which has enough tight turns and short straights that it doesn’t automatically favor higher-horsepower cars. The DeltaWing’s presence would also give Petit Le Mans a shot in the arm, since the race won’t have the Audi-Peugeot prototype battle that made headlines in 2011. The DeltaWing group has also submitted a design to the Izod IndyCar Series for the next generation of Indy Lights race car, which is supposed to change from the current, aging Dallara to something new in 2014.
It’s official – Nissan to power the Deltawing project from AAR
Nissan leads efficiency charge as founding partner of project
Innovative new racing car to run at Le Mans with Nissan technology
Nissan DeltaWing will act as test bed for new road car technologies
Drive for efficiency will see car use half the fuel of its conventional counterparts, bringing Nissan “PureDrive” principles to the track
Initial backers include racing legends Dan Gurney and Don Panoz, concept designer Ben Bowlby and Michelin
Special invitation from ACO to occupy ‘Garage 56’
Car to wear number ‘0’ and run outside race classification
LONDON, United Kingdom (13 March 2012) – Nissan is aiming to change the face of endurance racing forever by becoming a founding partner in the most radical motorsport project of its time – Nissan DeltaWing.
A highly-advanced and hugely-efficient Nissan engine will power the remarkable DeltaWing car as it races in anger for the first time at the legendary Le Mans 24 Hours (16-17 June).